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Seven Ways To Build Trust Through Social Media

It’s not surprising that with so many choices today, customers put a premium on loyalty and trustworthiness. The average Internet user sees six to ten thousand ads daily. In that same time frame they visit social media an average of one hundred forty five minutes.

It’s safe to say that if consumers spend nearly a fourth of their day on an activity, it behooves businesses to make contact with them there. Social media has become one of the most important places for businesses to connect with consumers.

It’s vital that those businesses approach customers honestly. It’s important to build a healthy relationship that’s entertaining, transparent and responsible.

There are seven sure ways businesses can build trust on social media. These methods aren’t silver bullets that work in a day, but they’re good habits that help guarantee success.

1. Provide Quality Content

Having a good product is always a good place to start. In terms of information, your product is your content. Whether the intention is to entertain or inform, the content needs to be of a quality that shows visitors your business is serious.

That means text must be well written, well placed and properly sourced. Images and sound must be clear and pertinent, with all rights cleared. The content should be useful to visitors. It should engage them in a way that makes them expect and want more.

Having good content makes a business appear to be an authority on a given subject. If done properly it can make that business appear to be a leader, a resource that outdoes its competitors.

2. Encourage Interactions

Don’t make communication a one way street. Use the interactive capabilities of social media to engage, inform and instruct consumers. Respond to questions quickly and encourage debate. Have a strategy in place to take advantage of your interactions. Lead generating ads and email campaigns are ways to develop a relationship.

Ask users for their opinions, and let their responses become a source of valuable content for you. Stay engaged by posting visitor reviews and client testimonials. When your customers see they have an actual place in your world, they’re more likely to trust you. A sense of community builds quickly when you’re involved in a dialogue that includes multiple interactions with your patrons.

3. Maintain Transparency

Let your customers know what you’re doing. Be upfront with them about what drives you. Tell them where you get your supplies and information. People don’t expect your intimate details, but they don’t want you to keep important secrets from them.

If you’re having troubles that are making your business suffer, let people know about it. They can’t stick with you through the hard times if they don’t know you’re having them. On the other hand it’s a good idea to be vocal about your successes. If your company worked hard and got another round of funding, let people know.

Spread the word when a windfall comes to you; let customers know when your business performs unusually well. People like a winner and enjoy being part of something that works. It’s not that you’re looking for a pat on the back; it’s just good to let customers know where you stand in relation to the rest of the field.

4. Display A Consistent Brand

Trust is built by consistency. You can’t be cold one day and hot the next. If you’ve shown you support a product, methodology or service, you can’t simply make it unavailable unexpectedly. If people come to you and see you have a certain way of doing things, you mustn’t suddenly adopt a whole new approach.

Even if you upgrade or relaunch your business, customers should still be able to identify your brand. Likewise, don’t say one thing but then do another. Your actions have consequences, and so do your words.

A business builds its brand over time, and the power of time is consistency. Once you become known for a way of doing business, people know they can trust you to deliver.

5. Be Original

Trust your own thoughts and your own ideas. No matter what sources or materials you use, the way you do business will be unique. Even a franchise duplicating a process used by thousands of venues will speak in the voice of its owners. Let the personality of your business shine through.

Social media is made for exhibiting a certain persona. The more your business takes direct ownership of its branding and presentation the more visitors will believe what they see is the real you.

6. Show Social Responsibility

Let people know you care about the world you inhabit. This can be anything from championing social causes to advocating changes in your industry. Consumers say time and again they prefer dealing with a business that shares their core values.

More than seventy eight percent of the public wants businesses to be involved in social issues. Another eighty seven percent make purchasing choices based upon shared beliefs with a company.

7. Work Openly With Colleagues

Get like minded businesses to partner with you and speak on your behalf. Praise from a third party carries more weight than tooting your own horn. Do joint ventures with other businesses, especially if it provides a benefit to your customers.

These liaisons paint your business as a thought leader and influencer. More importantly, the combined Internet linkage of the participating businesses carries your brand further than it can travel alone.

How To Enjoy Work

Everyone wants to enjoy their work. No one wants a job where every morning feels like a punishment, or you got to work watching the clock in anticipation of the day’s end. “Thank God It’s Friday!” should be an exultation at the end of the week, not heartfelt thanks for being freed from a criminal sentence. Enjoying a job isn’t just available to people who are ‘living the dream’. Most work has some sense of fulfillment. It’s usually only a matter of having the right perspective to find it.

What Makes A Job Enjoyable?

In order to find pleasure in your work you must ask yourself “What makes a job enjoyable to you?” Do you enjoy variable hours? Do you like a particular type of work? Is it stability you crave? Do you need to show your creativity? Whatever questions and answers you have, you should be honest with yourself. Examine your motivations, and be sure your problem doesn’t lie within. If you’re being truthful, you’ll understand what it is you want. Understanding your needs is how you begin to get enjoyment from your job.

What Makes A Job Unpleasant?

Once you know what you really want, you can identify what’s standing in your way. There are several reasons why a person doesn’t like their job. Any combination of these reasons might help you understand what you must do to turn things around.

Type Of Work – You may not enjoy the type of work you’re required to do. Maybe you never did, or perhaps you did once but don’t anymore.

Poor Work Environment – Is the job site too chaotic? Is it dangerous? Are there unpleasant smells? Don’t underestimate how much an environment impacts how you feel about what you do.

Difficult Job – Is the job too hard for you? Is it physically taxing? Do you have the skill set to do the work? Be honest with yourself if you’re not up to the job. Maybe you can rise to the occasion, but first you have to know where you stand.

Inadequate Pay – Are you financially stressed? It’s hard to feel at ease when you have money worries.

No Room For Improvement – Does the job feel ‘dead end’ to you? You must see some future in your job, even if it’s only for the near term.

What Can You Do To Enjoy Your Work?

If you’ve identified the problem, then you’re looking for solutions. Here are seven things you can do to start enjoying your work.

Know What You Want From Your Job – Whether this is your dream job or a temporary position there was a reason you went after this job in the first place. Even if it was only to make money to make ends meet, you had a purpose when you applied for the job. You began to fulfill that purpose as soon as you got employed. Relish that accomplishment. Don’t expect more from the job than it has to offer.

Have A Manageable Schedule – Don’t let the job overwhelm you. It’s natural to spend at least a third of your waking day on the job. Use that time wisely, and integrate it properly with the rest of your life. People feel resentful when they think they’ve lost control of their lives. Don’t let your job become a convenient excuse for why you’re not doing the things you enjoy. If you balance your leisure time correctly, you won’t feel like the job is a punishment or a burden.

Get Along With Your Coworkers – There should be no one at your job you despise or resent. You don’t have to be friends with everyone, but good manners go a long way. Show respect to your coworkers and demand it in return. At the end of the day it’s all just business. Everyone has a job to do. Keep it professional, and keep the personal to yourself. A job is more enjoyable when everyone works within the boundaries.

Don’t Make Work Problems Bigger Than They Are – The world doesn’t come to an end because there’s a problem at work. Most issues aren’t life or career threatening. Don’t fall for hyperbole or exaggeration. It’s easy to feel an issue is insurmountable when it’s right in front of you.

Be Clear About Your Job Duties – Know your place and the place of others. Do your job and encourage your coworkers to do the same. If you have a boss, get them to clearly define what you do. Politely insist that you not be made to over perform. It’s fine if you want to go above and beyond your duties, but that shouldn’t be a requirement. It brings a sense of fulfillment to perform a job well, but you can’t experience that if you’re being overworked.

Improve Your Skills – Empower yourself to do a better job. No matter what you do there’s always a way to become better at it. Even if it’s a job that doesn’t excite or challenge you, you’ll feel better if you become more proficient at the job.

Take Necessary Breaks – Rest is vastly underrated. Neuroscientists say that an exhausted person is more physically impaired than someone who is stumbling drunk. Give yourself mental and physical breaks. You’re not a machine. You have to rest and play as well as work.

5 Reasons Why You Should Try Freelancing

What can you get out of freelancing that you can’t have with a ‘regular’ job? Is it really a viable alternative to a nine to five, or should you only do it for extra pay? We’ve got five answers to those questions, and some of them may surprise you. There’s no doubt that in the current job market, you should give freelancing a serious look.

With the ebb and flow of pandemic strains and the uncertainty of a disrupted workforce the freelance world appeals more and more to a new breed of workers. Being free of a nine-to-five, or simply augmenting your hours with extra work, makes sense to talented people looking for options. Freelancing holds an appeal to people looking for flexibility and opportunity. Let’s look at five solid reasons why you should give freelancing a try.

1. Flexibility

Having choices is ultimately what freedom is all about. If you’re firmly in the freelance world you have some control over your work hours, work place and work attire. Deciding when you want to wake up, when you eat and when you sleep is a luxury most workers never have. By definition, if you work for someone else and punch a clock, most of those decisions are taken from you. Few businesses can let their workers dictate pace, let alone the duration or intensity of the workday. Likewise the work place often decides when a worker eats. Since most work places are self-contained, and lunch times are relatively short, the employer also indirectly decides what foods the employee eats. A worker who wants or needs some control over their diet can certainly bring their food with them. Increasingly there are more strictures on bringing and storing food in the workplace, however. Employers don’t want the responsibility of allowing foreign organic matter onto the premises. They often provide lunchrooms and cafeterias, which means they control the menu as well as the feeding time.

2. Make More Money

Freelancing is all about adding money to your pocket. If you haven’t quit your traditional job, freelancing means a huge bump of income for you. Some people move up several tax brackets simply on the basis of freelance income. With creative deductions they often keep a great deal of their money for themselves.

When you freelance you’re able to charge what you think you’re worth. If the market agrees and employers meet your price, you often make substantially more than you do working traditionally. The better rate of pay delivers greater dividends if you freelance full time. Without overtime limits and basic employment salary caps, the more you work the more you can earn. Each job pays as well as the last. There’s no employer worrying about personnel budgets. The freelancer simply collects their pay and pockets what they earn.

3. Feed Your Creative Impulses

  • Get Creative! – One of the best reasons for freelancing is to scratch your creative itch. Working in traditional jobs leaves little room for developing your skills. With freelancing you get to do the work you love. You’re free to choose projects you admire and enjoy. The only limitations are the number of jobs you find and the level of skill you possess. It’s not always easy, and sometimes you work very hard to find the right projects. The pay off is extraordinary, however, if you can find a steady flow of work.
  • Gain New Skills And Meet New People – Becoming a freelancer is like living in an alternate universe. Things might look the same, but your experiences feel very different. You’ll gain new skills because you have the freedom to explore. Maybe you always wanted to see if a certain software package performs a task better than another. Perhaps you always wanted to visit a special destination and see what it’s like to work there. You can try these new things when your decisions are you own. Just as importantly, you’ll meet new people. A traditional job may have colleagues who work in your field, but with freelancing you might work beside people you’ve always wanted to meet.
  • Experience New Challenges – In freelancing you can push your limits. Let’s face it; life is more exciting when you explore new horizons. Most traditional jobs give you the same work to do day in and day out. With freelancing you can try things you never tried before. Jobs that push the envelope or that make you part of cutting edge developments are there for the taking, if you have the talent and are willing to take the risks.

4. Freelancing Is Part Of The New Normal

Another reason to jump into the freelance world is it’s becoming more and more the way jobs are done. Contract employees are more prevalent than permanent workers in some industries. Businesses make a habit of hiring the people they need for a set of tasks, then letting them go when there’s no longer any work for them. If you’re already in the habit of juggling schedules and setting your own pace you can pick up more jobs in this newly structured market.

5. Freelancing Can Lead To Business Opportunities

Some entrepreneurs use freelancing as a springboard to start a new business. The contacts and networking they develop while freelancing become a structure for a brand new company. Entrepreneurship brings greater prosperity along with greater risks and responsibility. The freelance world often prepares you for that pressure, however. Making your own decisions and living with the consequences is how freelancers thrive. Starting a business may just be the next logical step.

Your Business Problems Solved In Ten Steps

If there’s no such thing as perfection, then there’s surely no such thing as a complete disaster. Every business problem has a solution. To find the best remedy it’s usually a matter of keeping your head, assessing the situation, then proceeding with your remedy confidently. No matter what steps you take you’ll need your co-workers and team members involved.

They probably have as much stake in finding a solution as you do. They also probably have their own ideas, so listen to what they have to say. Below are ten reliable steps to completely solving any problem in business. Use the process and enlist the help of your colleagues. Once you think it through and have the best plan, implement your solution and get your business back on track.

Step 1 Recognize You Have A Problem.

Be it financial issues, a love-life, health concerns or political situations, no problem can be solved unless you first acknowledge you have one. A great line in Martin Scorsese’s film The Departed, finds Martin Sheen saying to Leonardo DiCaprio, “We deal in deception here. What we do not deal in is self deception.” The same holds true for your business.

You can spin whatever tale you must (hopefully no more than a little advertising braggadocio), but you must be clear headed about your own business and how well it’s working. If you have a problem you have to face it head on, with no illusion about its depth or reach.

Step 2 Find The Root Cause.

At the heart of every problem lies a reason for its existence. Maybe the reason comes from outside; maybe it’s internal. It could be something systemic that you thought was working but is now getting in the way. If it’s a person, or persons, who are they? Do you need to be diplomatic, or can you move quickly to solve the issue? Dig deeply until you know what’s really going on. Don’t accept surface answers, and don’t be afraid to make hard choices if they’re necessary.

Step 3 Be Confident About Solving Your Problem.

You have to feel deep down that you can solve whatever problem is bothering you. If you don’t feel that way at the beginning, then get enough information or help until you do. Don’t shy away from the problem, because you feel you’re not up to it. Maybe you’re right, and you don’t have the resources to handle what’s happening.

If the problem is happening within your work environment, however, that means the same energy fueling your problem is available to you. People are going to look to you to fix whatever’s wrong. Show them you intend to meet the problem squarely, and they’ll be with you through to the end.

Step 4 Get Help From Your Colleagues.

You’re going to need help to solve any serious problem. Get your team members involved early. Tell them about your assessments and what you think must be done. If they agree, you now have allies. If they disagree, listen to their objections. They may provide contrast to help you judge your own approach.

Step 5 Consider The Problem Quietly Before Proceeding.

Sometimes it’s wise to keep your own council. You shouldn’t say everything that comes to mind, even if it seems like the best idea. Think about your problem deeply before going public with your plan of action. Get away by yourself, and let a little quiet time give you perspective. Further reflection will give your thoughts better foundation. Moreover, people respect your ideas more if they think you’ve thought it through.

Step 6 List Your Options.

It’s always good to state your options formally. Once you’ve put them in writing or said them out loud, thoughts and ideas take on a life of their own. An opinion carries more weight once it’s been presented. Sometimes it even changes the dynamic. How many times have you heard a sentence that started with the phrases, “Now that I say it out loud….” or “Now that I read if for myself…”? When you see your options listed or hear them spoken, it gives them focus. That clarity allows you and everyone else to decide which course of action is actually the best.

Step 7 Brainstorm For Ideas With Colleagues.

Your co-workers are your best sounding board. They’re with you everyday, so they know the nature of the problem. Work with them to get on the same page. That involves listening to their opinions and throwing every card on the table. It doesn’t matter if they agree with you one hundred percent or not. What’s important is to have ideas honestly discussed. Once you’re moving in the same direction, your plans and your actions will both be stronger.

Step 8 Keep Other People’s Solutions In Mind.

If you listen to people but don’t really consider what they say, you’ve wasted their time and yours. When you brainstorm, your group will have many excellent ideas, many of which may not be your own. Use those suggestions, and take the best ones to heart. The good thing about a great idea is anyone can use it to their advantage.

Step 9 Assert Your Position.

Once you’ve decided where you come down on a problem, stand your ground and move comfortably from there. Remember that your process considered every angle. Be confident that you came to a reasonable conclusion after weighing the facts and finding the best solution.

Step 10 Accept The Solution And The Results.

Stand by your decision and live with the consequences. Unless it’s an intellectual exercise, never second guess yourself. Hard problems require hard choices. Even if you made the wrong choice, you’ll still need to remain clear to deal with the aftermath. Most problems in business don’t go away after being addressed only once.

Your goal is to move the needle and turn things around until the full situation improves. People who see a good work environment often fail to realize the finely crafted landscape took time and effort to construct. Hopefully these ten steps help you take that approach to your business and get you the results you need.

8 Surefire Ways To Simplify Your Work Life

The Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius once said, “You have the power to strip away many superfluous troubles.” While he was talking about self-reflection and development, his sentiment holds true when it comes to the work day grind. We spend most of our lives working. The rest of it we spend on leisure and sleep. Unless we’re careful, work can cast a terrible shadow over us.

One of the best ways to keep work in its place, and make it more productive, is to keep things simple. No matter how complicated the task or how difficult the job, there’s always a way to do it more precisely. Limiting a job to its bare essentials lets you focus on what’s important.

Simplicity won’t necessarily make a job easier, but it does make it manageable. Getting your mind wrapped around your work puts it in perspective.

There’s no better feeling than knowing you’re equal to the task, and simplicity lets you focus on what you need to do, so here are Eight Surefire Ways To Simplify Your Work Life:

Clean And Organize Your Area

The trite saying, ‘messy area, messy mind’ might be a cliché, but it’s also true. You don’t have to be a neat freak or germophobe, but you can start simplifying your work life by clearing your desk of anything unnecessary to your immediate work. Bring items to your desktop only when you need them. After you’re done, put them away, preferably to a designated spot. You must also clear the area immediately surrounding your desk. If you share an office with others, make it plain you intend to keep your area clutter free. If you have an enclosed office, organize it all. This may take a few hours, or even a few days. Just make sure you do it properly and completely.

Have A Set, Reasonable Number Of Work Hours

Being a workaholic isn’t a virtue. Overtime is okay, but it’s the exception, not the rule. Devote yourself to your time at work, but when it’s over, leave it behind. Believe it or not, successful entrepreneurs know how to be as involved with their playtime as they do with their work. Whether you’re a captain of industry or one of its foot soldiers, set your work hours to a time frame you can manage.

Organize Your Work Flow Order

There is a time for everything. Important jobs should be structured, and even your busy work should be planned. If you have a good work flow, you’ll spend less time developing schedules on the fly. With a logical order, you’ll bring proper resources to the job. You’ll be able to gauge your progress and evaluate your outcomes.

Do Important Tasks First

When you’re organizing your work, start with the most important jobs first. The beginning of your work period is when you have the most energy, creativity and time. Your mind will rest easy knowing you’ve accomplished something of value early. Whether you’re your own boss or have a manager, you’ll feel better during the day knowing the heavy lifting is already done.

Eliminate Nonessential Or Busy Work

We talked earlier about organizing your busy work, but to tell the truth, you should eliminate it. Most mundane tasks can be automated. Let machines and third party services take away that mind sapping tedium. Identify tasks that are repetitive and redundant. Remove anything that doesn’t help your work or lay a foundation for jobs in the future. The time you spend on unnecessary tasks erodes your passion and robs your desire for your job.

Take Real Breaks

This is one of the hardest things to follow when you simplify your work. Other than bathroom and food breaks we’re taught that interrupting our work is laziness. This simply isn’t true. Despite analogies to the contrary, the human mind isn’t a machine. People don’t only need to rest. They also need to recharge. You must get away from your work when it’s time to do so. Only then will you come back fresher and eager for more.

Concentrate On Your Own Job

It’s great to be a team player, but everyone has a job to do. If you’re doing someone else’s job, you’re probably not doing yours very well. Mission creep happens with any work, but don’t let it make your job impossible. Even people who work in isolation fall prey to the trap of overwork. It’s debilitating to do someone else’s job, whether they’re on the other end of a phone or across from you in a cubicle. Learn to focus on your own work, and you’ll find the day goes smoother.

Communicate Quickly and Succinctly

Many people spend too much time over thinking work communication. Meetings don’t have to drag on, and if it takes ten emails to relay an idea, you’ve obviously belabored the point. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, fall in love with the sound of their own voice. Be clear and concise. The simplified work life rewards language that’s strong and plain.